Open vStorage & OpenStack (Cinder)

A recent survey conducted in partnership between Linux.com and the New Stack tried to find the hottest open-source projects in the cloud landscape. It should not come as a surprise that OpenStack, the open-source cloud platform initially developed by Rackspace and NASA but now backed by more than 200 companies, came out as most popular project.

Here at the Open vStorage headquarter we are also a big fan of the complete OpenStack eco system. For example, we love the scalability and performance that Swift, the OpenStack Object Store, brings to the table. With Open vStorage we wanted to be part of this future proof ecosystem. Now that even VMware is releasing its own OpenStack distribution (VMware Integrated OpenStack aka. VIOS) we can safely say that OpenStack is definitely on the rise but even more important, here to stay.

That is why we decided to write a plugin for Cinder (the block storage service in OpenStack). This way you can easily use Open vStorage in combination with OpenStack. Some of the benefits you get by installing this Cinder Plugin are:
* Use the native Swift Object Store as primary storage for your Virtual Machines.
* A huge performance increase for traditional storage solutions due to aggressive read and write caching at the host.
* Integrate storage backends which don’t have a Cinder plugin into OpenStack.

Don’t be shy and give the free, open-source Open vStorage Cinder Plugin a try. It will only take 5 minutes of your precious time but your OpenStack environment will be on steroids.

Need help with installing the Plugin or you want to share feedback? Visit the Open vStorage Help Forum.

Webscale 2.0

As a Product Manager I’m very often on challenging calls with potential users of Open vStorage and one of the questions that comes back on almost every call is:

How scalable is Open vStorage?

It is a question that is easy to answer: extremely scalable. Open vStorage is built from the ground up to support environments which have 100+ hosts. It is designed to be used in large datacenters as primary storage platform for all types of Virtual Machine workload. I’m aware that the term scalable is a bit biased and can have different meanings. Did the enquirer mean storage capacity scalability or performance scalability. Well, Open vStorage scales both ways. For the storage capacity, the scalability is mostly limited to the selected backend. For example, with Swift as storage backend of a vPool, you can almost infinitely add disks or storage nodes to enlarge the storage pool. Swift is after all designed with massive scalability as main development mantra and it has shown this quality in production environments of Disney and Rackspace amongst many others.
Performance scalability is also not a problem. Adding more hosts running the Open vStorage software will linearly scale the performance. As each hosts has one or more SSDs or PCIe Flash cards on board, the addition of every host to the Open vStorage environment increases the data that can be stored in the cache.

Does that mean Open vStorage is webscale?

No, unlike other hyperconverged storage solutions, we are not webscale. We are webscale 2.0. The reason why we can call Open vStorage webscale 2.0 is because it decoupled the storage scalability from the performance scalability. This allows for asymmetric architectures. It makes no sense having to add more storage capacity in order to improve the performance of your storage solution. Open vStorage is the only solution which allows to independently scale performance and capacity at a massive scale. Not only is Open vStorage tailored to the needs of large environments with petabytes of data and a battery of compute power but it can also address the needs of a typical enterprise. Whether that typical enterprise has lots of data with limited compute power or vice versa, Open vStorage is up for the job.

Open vStorage 1.4

Open vStorage 1.4 is released. This release contains one major new feature: our Cinder Plugin for OpenStack. Additional this release contains a lot of bugfixes and code improvements.

Cinder Plugin:
OpenStack is the standard, open-source framework to build public clouds. Initially OpenStack was created by NASA and Rackspace but now it supported by more than 200 companies. It has a modular architecture with as most important components (for Open vStorage) Swift (a scalable redundant storage system) and Cinder (block storage). Swift is already supported since Open vStorage 1.3. With the 1.4 release, we release a plugin for Cinder which allows to use OpenvStorage as block storage in an OpenStack environment. This is the first version of the plugin and some functionality (clone from snapshot and create volume from snapshot) offered by Cinder is not yet implemented. Give it a try and let us know your feedback in the Open vStorage forum!

An overview of the most important fixes and code improvements:

  • OAuth 2.0 as authorization instead of basic tokens.
  • Redirected IO between Storage Routers is now multithreaded. This allows for greater bandwidth between Storage Routers.
  • Storage Router status gets correctly displayed in the GUI.
  • Storage Router hostnames are now added to all Storage Routers.
  • Fix for issue with deletion of vTemplates.
  • Fix for multiple /etc/exports entries created by the Volume Driver upstart script.
  • Fix for issue which deletes a vMachine without reason in some rare, exotic cases.